Part 2: Reading comprehension

Part 2: Reading comprehension

Before reading:

Match the words in column A which appear in the text, with the definitions which are in column B. Use dictionaries and internet resources to help you.

abusive To talk calmly and rationally with someone to persuade them to change their behaviour
uncooperative Behaving badly and disturbing other people or stopping crew from doing their work
(to) reason Things which can be used to prevent a passenger from moving freely
disruptive Rude, aggressive; very impolite
(to) neutralise Someone who refuses to do what they need to do or have been asked to do
restraints To eliminate a danger; to stop someone being a danger to other people

The following article is about how airline staff categorise and deal with uncooperative, abusive and violent passengers.

Security on airliners has been the subject of considerable debate in recent years as reports of incidents involving abusive and violent passengers – let alone more serious security problems, such as terrorism – have continued to rise. North American and European airline companies have established a three-category classification system for bad passenger behaviour.

Category 1 concerns uncooperative passengers who don’t think airline procedures should apply to them, for example passengers who refuse to wear their seatbelt or hand over their boarding card, won’t sit down when asked or want to argue about security or safety measures. In cases such as these, flight and cabin crew are advising passengers to be patient and to try and reason with them.

Category 2 concerns disruptive behaviour which has an impact on other passengers or the work of the crew. For example, this could be someone who makes a lot of noise, harasses the crew, demands services to which he or she is not entitled, or which are not provided, wants to drink more than is allowed, is rude or abusive, etc. In cases such as this, every effort is made to prevent the situation from escalating and the passenger can expect to receive a written warning in his or her first language, explaining the potential legal consequences of continued disruptive behaviour.

Category 3 concerns passengers whose behaviour is considered dangerous. This would be the case of someone exhibiting violent behaviour, for example physically attacking other passengers and / or members of the flight crew or cabin crew. As soon as such behaviour is reported during a flight, the door leading to the flight deck is locked. In situations such as this, the priority is to neutralise the threat as quickly as possible. Airliners carry a variety of restraints which can be used to keep violently disruptive passengers under control, such as handcuffs and different types of straps. In the United States, some companies even provide crew with firearms.

Read the following examples of passenger behaviour. Imagine you are a flight attendant and say which category the behaviour is in and what action you would take, following this example:

Two children start arguing noisily, annoying other passengers and their parents do not intervene.

This is category 2 because the children’s behaviour has an impact on other passengers. I would talk to the parents and explain that other passengers are not happy.

    1. A passenger who is listening to music and singing along quite loudly.
      This is category _____ because __________________. I would…
    2. A passenger who has repeatedly asked for one of the flight attendant’s telephone number and becomes aggressive when he / she refuses to give it.
      This category _________ because ________________. I would…
    3. A passenger who appears to be drunk and who persists in attempting to join her friends in business class.
      This is category _______ because _____________________. I would …
    4. A passenger who says he / she has flown on many occasions and knows that there is no real need to put on his / her seatbelt.
      This is category ______ because ______________________. I would …
    5. A passenger who grabs another flight attendant and says he / she has a knife in his bag.
      This is category ________ because _____________________. I would…
    6. A passenger who is waiting for the toilet refuses to return to their seat when a warning about turbulence is given.
      This is category _____ because _________________________. I would…
    7. Two passengers have been arguing for some time and you have already asked them to modify their behaviour. Suddenly, one hits the other.
      This is category ______ because ________________________. I would…
    8. A passenger is sitting in the wrong seat and becomes abusive when you ask him / her to move to the correct seat.
      This is category _______ because ______________________. I would…